A MERE stone’s throw across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand is forging a stronger bond with Warrnambool through a burgeoning link between two respective schools.
A visit last year to Kaikoura High School by Warrnambool’s Brauer College has seen the school from New Zealand’s south island make its first trip abroad to experience what Australia has to offer.
The ritual return of a traditional Toki axe to Kaikoura yesterday morning has become — and will continue to be — a symbolic gesture between the two schools as they look to strengthen a growing relationship.
Brauer College teacher Russell Moody said the axe had become “a batten between the two schools”.
“It was presented to us as an exchange piece between the two schools,” Mr Moody said.
“The idea being that the school on travel would be presented with the Toki again, which has been blessed by the local Maori, and you collect it and take it back.”
Students from Kaikoura fly home tomorrow having spent over a week in Melbourne, Warrnambool and everywhere in between.
But they weren’t going anywhere without a customary kick-to-kick of the footy with Brauer students yesterday.
Kaikoura’s physical education teacher Jo Thorne said everyone had had a blast on the trip, made even more special thanks to the recent wild weather.
“Every day has been a different highlight. I don’t think you could say one particular thing (was our favourite). Everything’s been fantastic. Everyone’s been really welcoming,” Ms Thorne said.
“The ocean was so wild and woolly when we went down there (Great Ocean Road) the other day. The kids have never seen anything like it.
“This is the first time that our school has had an international link. This is the first time we’ve taken a group of kids overseas.”
Mr Moody, who initiated the trans-Tasman friendship, said the chance to step briefly away from home was greatly beneficial for anyone.
“Travel broadens the mind. It broadens your whole horizons,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter where you live, you see that as being the centre of the universe; the focal point.
“It’s that sharing, and noting that the difference is the thing that makes the difference.
“That’s the thing that makes it good — that not everyone is the same.”